Sometimes I think New York’s just as weird as our parents warned us it’d be. Granted, they grew up during a different time, when sex workers manned the corner of 42nd St and the M&M’s store was a porno theater. It’s when you walk out on Broadway in SoHo and see the weed trucks parked outside, selling lollipops, that you think: “Yeah, maybe mom and dad were onto something with all their flagrant fear-mongering.”
Weed isn’t legal in the state of New York, but the laws are easing up... a little bit. Carrying 25g or less will get you a $100 fine, but selling the green stuff to a minor could get you up to 25 years in prison.
So how does Weed World Candies sell weed-laced edibles to people without getting in too much trouble with the cops?
It’s all about a loophole regarding the ingredients in the products. Despite the fact that Weed World trucks are emblazoned with the names of recognizable pot strains, there’s technically no marijuana in the candies -- at least, not the stuff that makes pot fun.
“There is no THC in the pops,” a Weed World associate, who declined to be named, told me while hanging out of a window of the truck parked along Sixth Ave in Greenwich Village one day. He meant tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical most responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects (i.e., feeling “stoned”).
Instead, the lollipops contain tiny trace amounts of cannabidiol (CBD), an entirely separate non-psychoactive component in the plant that’s known for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits, but without the high. “So you’ll get relaxed and that’s it,” the truck attendant told me.
That’s why you can buy these $5 lollipops without worrying about having a weird trip. CBD in small quantities is totally legal to sell... but that’s probably not why these trucks sell these things on busy street corners. It’s more than likely that people buy the lollipops because they don’t read the fine print, nor do they inquire about the effects it’ll have on your body. The only problem is, this stuff doesn’t even compare to smoking a joint.
Getting high (or not) is beside the point, according to the head of Weed World -- a man named “Dro Man,” who took the time to chat with me over the phone about his company’s mission statement.
“This is about marijuana awareness... you know, pushing for the legalization of marijuana nationwide. We pass out a lot of pamphlets and literature about the laws and different things [marijuana] can be used for. It's not so much about making the money as we are about promoting and making people aware of marijuana laws.”
Based in Alabama, Weed World has been in business for about 16 years, and now operates around a dozen trucks parked in various neighborhoods around NYC. You can buy these pops from the trucks themselves or in large quantity through an eBay link on the Weed World Candies site. When asked about the possibility of a nationwide legalization of marijuana, Dro Man says Weed World is ready to take full advantage: “We’ll be in a better position if weed gets legalized. You know, we want to be a household name. We want to be the number one name in the business, even though we don't carry actual marijuana products. The thing is, too, there are a lot of different CBD products and most of them don't have a pleasant taste. That’s what makes ours better... people love the taste."
To get a better idea of what people are actually getting out of eating these lollipops (since they’re clearly not getting high), I decided to do a taste-test of the top-sellers and rank them (for science, of course).
I have to admit that I have a very strong bias against orange-flavored things. Orange is a garbage flavor and only garbage people enjoy the taste. So, I made sure to take the minimum number of licks possible to get an adequate idea of the flavor of this pop without getting it all over my tongue. It tasted like orange cough syrup and I spent the rest of the day upset that I subjected myself to such a nasty flavor.
This wasn’t the first lollipop I had eaten, so I didn’t think it would do anything for me. However, I wished it had, because I’ve always read about how marijuana hates nausea and the ensuing sickness from forcing my body to eat orange needed to be quelled. I angrily bought Pepto-Bismol and fumed over getting played like that.
Did the CBD relax me?: I don’t feel relaxed when I come into contact with an orange -- in fact, it boils my blood.
I bought these lollipops during a break at work and yellow was the first one I ate as I walked back to the office. I felt nervous at the prospect of sucking on something even having to do with marijuana, since most of my nights spent high in my youth ended with me acting like a lunatic, like the one time I ran away from a very normal woman in a gray overcoat. Anyway, I ended up pleasantly surprised at the flavor of this lollipop. It didn’t taste like weed... it didn’t taste like anything -- it just reminded me of what you get at the doctor’s office after a Hepatitis booster. I ate the whole thing and spent the next 20 minutes positive I was going on a bad trip, until I stepped into a meeting and forgot the entire thing had happened.
Flavor: C? Just because it reminded me of hepatitis, my least favorite disease.
Did the CBD relax me?: You know, there’s nothing less relaxing than thinking you’re about to go on a bad drug trip. Alternatively, there’s nothing more relaxing than realizing you’re just being paranoid.
I like green a lot, because I never know what it is, and there’s something kind of nice about getting pleasure from the unknown. I actually still don’t what the flavor was -- lime? Apple? The feeling of pure, blissful uncertainty? I ate this one at my desk and it brightened up my afternoon just a little bit. I definitely didn’t get high, but it didn’t bother me that much. It must’ve been lime -- yeah, I think it was lime.
I didn’t get high, but I was oddly hungry after I sucked this thing dry. So, I ended up eating a very stoner-like lunch, except I did it sober. If anything, this made me sad that I eat terribly even while not under the influence. I’m probably going to die young.
Flavor: B- because I never before thought a candy could so exercise my brain.
Did the CBD relax me?: My eating habits are comparable to those of a pregnant woman, so I actually really like eating. The level of hunger this one gave me made me feel happy and relaxed. By proxy, this was a relaxing lollipop.
I always tell girls that the toughest thing about me is my love for purple-flavored things. I blame my parents for putting the idea into my head that only tough guys liked purple stuff, but that’s what I’m going with. Also, purple reminds me of being a kid and not having to pay hundreds of dollars for contact lenses. This was actually the only lollipop where I thought I tasted a hint of weed.
Again, it didn’t do anything, but I thought there were notes of marijuana in there. I could see myself eating this particular lollipop again in the near future, but I can’t commit to anything right now. For now, I’ll say it was delicious and I might eat it again one day.
Flavor: B. Everything purple tastes good -- except raw eggplant skins.
Did the CBD relax me?: Extremely relaxing, but only because I was coincidentally thinking of something relaxing.
Ah, dependable blue. Perhaps even more wonderfully convoluted than green. I really loved the blue lollipop -- no doubt blue raspberry -- and would gladly eat it again. It tasted like a 7-Eleven Slurpee and got me excited to be alive. Who decided to meld together blue and raspberry? Is there a fruit out there less blue than a raspberry? It actually really got me wondering who actually manufactures these things. This company should quit the weed game and just get into a low-key confectionary business.
I don’t think it got me high, but I was also too distracted by the fruity taste to notice anything. I was once told that a dinosaur could be going down on a dragon and I’d be too distracted to notice. OK, nobody told me that, but I know it’s true. Anyway, not high.
Flavor: A. Yes!
Did the CBD relax me?: No, because I realized I’ve wasted my life not pursuing a career in candy making.
As dependable as blue is, red always beats blue. It’s the go-to gold-standard flavor for lollipops and the most normal flavor for such an abnormal product. Perhaps it was that “abnormality” of buying this stuff from the back of the truck that made me appreciate the flavor so much.
I tried really hard to get high from this one -- like, really high. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to think about “high” stuff -- you know, tie-dye patterns, kitties with lasers coming out of their butts, and Phish songs! Alas, I didn’t see tie-dye or kitties, and I still think Phish fucking sucks.
However, this is a taste test and this one wins “best taste.” Sweet, fruity, and mysterious... like a cherry-flavored strawberry. Or would it be a strawberry-flavored cherry? I don’t know which fruit is physically strongest. Against every other lollipop in the category of most pleasing to me, this pleased me most. I liked sucking on it and I’d stick one in my mouth again.
Flavor: A+. Better red than dead.
Did the CBD relax me?: This one’s complicated, but hear me out: I was only relaxed because I made myself relaxed. This led me to wonder how legitimate actual relaxation is; if I can be relaxed by telling myself to relax, is relaxation real? Is anything real? How can mirrors be real if our eyes aren’t real?! AHHHHHH!
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